- Review by Kaya Savas - 3/9/18
While Tom Holkenborg’s score to Mad Max: Fury Road has gotten him the most attention, it’s important to realize just how versatile he is. Tomb Raider sees him tackling a very character-driven adventure flick to a pretty well-known franchise. Very much how the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider films were echoes of the older iteration of the games; this new Tomb Raider tries to be closer to the newer vision of the games. Holkenborg delivers his signature bold sound with some heart behind it for a pretty thrilling adventure score.
Tomb Raider starts off sounding something more along the lines of Harry Gregson-Williams before Holkenborg’s signature style kicks into gear. The score does a great job of reflecting Lara Croft as a woman of adventure; the music is bold and strong but with an elegance and beauty to it. When we get into some high-octane action the music embraces that signature percussion that you might recognize from Mad Max: Fury Road, and overall the score blends electronic textures with the lushness of the orchestra quite well.
The music has a weight to it, and more importantly there’s an emotional weight to it. We feel Lara Croft in the score and we feel her journey. Her relationship with her father is a key emotional pull in the story and the score reflects on that beautifully throughout. In fact, Lara’s theme is essentially her memory of her father that she carries with her. You can feel it in those moments, and when it’s unleashed in an action track like “Never Give Up” it can give some serious goosebumps. You won’t be humming the theme after the movie, it definitely doesn’t turn Lara into a superhero, and that’s why it works. There’s a lot of humanity in Lara’s music that then gets adapted into the action.
Tomb Raider continues the quest to try and make a decent movie based on a video game, and while director Roar Uthaug and composer Tom Holkenborg may not bring us a game changer, there is still much to enjoy here. Tomb Raider’s score is a finely executed piece of character-based action writing. Having Lara Croft be such a huge part of the score makes the action set pieces work that much better, because the music becomes more than just “action music” and we have a little more substance behind it.